Mothers day, and so like all good fathers I went off rowing, only in this case I went Off a little further than normal, since we were competing in the Hammersmith Head.
First, however, I did my fatherly duty by assisting Miranda (who woke up especially to remind me that it was mothers day and that she ought to do this) to make M a cup of tea, and to set out her breakfast when she came down, and presenting the paper bouquet carefully.
The Ladies (or Girls, or Totty, or Wenches, or Bitches (those latter two not, I think: only Emma and Sarah were kind enough to help us with boating, so got to be Welly Wenches; and then with the blades after, hence Blade Bitches), it isn’t quite clear what they prefer to be called) did the ladies version on Saturday (http://www.wehorr.org/index.htm; actually that is the ladies’s version of Tideway, and I think the ladies had a longer course, athlugh that rather useless website doesn’t trouble itself with trivia like the course, mump grump), and were happy to improve their previous time by a minute or two. If you are friends with the right people, Janice has an album of pix, and (open to all) their results and analysis have been blogged (see-also Amy’s version, which is more atmospheric, and applies to us too). Birdman photography have some nice pix of the Ladies – this one in particular makes me remember how I’ve rather got out of the habit of reaching round my rigger – largely, in self defence (in both senses) because I don’t trust our balance, or I haven’t, over the winter. With our shiny new boat and crew beginning to cohere I may be able to correct that – but getting back the instinct of reaching out, and losing the instinct of fear-of-imbalance, will be work. Don’t look at this one if you’re Sarah. It may be instructive to look at the lead crew (dunno who they are). And another. Jet Photographic have one too, but it isn’t flattering.
Anyway, Sunday, and our turn. Queens, 9 am, load the trailer, which Tom W is driving, and wave them off. The lane leading down to Queens is just big enough to take a trailer if you go up onto the pavement, taking care not to bump Jacob’s bike.
I have Mike, James and Emma in my car and we bumble round the M25 happily and down the M4 and are nearly there when we receive a phone call – Paul “completely useless” Holland (I don’t mean it really :-) and Sarah have broken down on the M25. Oops. For bonus amusement they are driven by Paul’s parents, recently returned from France, and their breakdown insurance is french and to activate it they have to phone France who then contact someone in England who… Fortunately we have time in hand so, taking Mike to map-read and Emma because her phone possesses the mystical knowledge of Paul’s phone number, we head off down the M3 then onto the M25 and pick them up off the hard shoulder just as the police turn up. So at least my mothers day present of benign neglect turns out better than Paul’s – abandoning his mother on the M25 :-). James T, meanwhile, has forgotten that buses that run on a saturday may not run on a sunday too. But by the time we get back (delayed by a huge traffic jam on the M4, which was perfectly clear when we first came in an hour ago) to the Tideway Scullers we’re all there and the others have kindly reassembled The Boat, which is currently nameless, though “sluicegate runner” is in contention.
This left us with a fair amount of time for sitting in the fitful early-year sunshine and pondering the river. It appears to be somewhat bigger than the Cam, and not quite so flat, and all that open area leads to more wind. And it is tidal. All in all it doens’t look like such a good place to row – the sole virtue it has is that you can fit more boats on it.
The days course is Chiswick Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge (approx. 2 ¾ miles).
Our chief objective for this race was to Get Used to the River, since we’re coming back for the tideway. I found it Big, and Wavy, and Windy. Of these I think Wavy was the worst bit, though nothing really slopped over the sides and for most of the course it was no worse than a poor day on the Cam, and we coped fairly well. But did we row fairly well? I’m not sure, our time will tell us something, of course, but in terms of effort, and style, maybe we get 3/5, or perhaps a bit higher taking into account our aims for the day (Cap’n James reckons we did a bit better than that. And since we finished 52, maybe we did :-). There were quite a few IM3′s below us, and not many Nov8+’s above). We overtook one crew (hurrah!) and whilst we were caught up by Bristol 2 (fnarr) they didn’t manage to overtake us, despite some truely impressive shouting by their cox (they were fitter than us, but ropier). The course was downstream from Chiswick bridge, and it was a looong way back against the stream. As Sarah said, I kept thinking “did we really row past this bit”? Not knowing the landmarks is odd. Having A Large Number of boats to marshall is fun – we line both banks upstream of Chiswick, pointing the wrong way, then “peel off” and spin into the current, before heading downstream for the start. This involves constant tapping-on to stay in place, and little jostles with surrounding boats. The marshalls whizz up and down in launches shouting at everyone.
The sole condition of our being allowed to boat from Tideway Scullers was that we buy a round in the bar afterwards, so we dutifully did (after first de-rigging and splitting the boat, unlike those naughty Maggies, who got pissed first). Here we all are (except me, of course):
Ralph (stroke), Tom W (6), Emma (WW), James T (Cox), James H (7), Tom M (4), Dan (?, Support), Paul “tu” H (bow), Sarah (BB), Chris W (2). Mike PJ (3) is out of shot. But that is his rucksac, just next to Chris. And so home, with Mike’s knowledge of the A4 sparing us some of the jams on the M4, and a moderate M25, and back.
Top tip: TSS seems to be in the middle of nowhere, so bring your own food (or go to the bar). Also, the queue for boating moves quickly… no time to faff around until you’re on the water.
And I nearly forgot: those new seats make my bum hurt.
[If you, like me, have been wondering when AK are going to get the results up...
appears to have them. Don't know if they are accurate, of course. [Update: yes they are]
We’re 56 78 CHESTERTON RC NOV.8+ 12:21 10 secs behind Bristol D which
1 2 LONDON RC A SEN.8+ 11:00 SEN.8+
2 1 HENLEY RC A ELI.8+ 11:02 ELI.8+
3 5 STAR CLUB IM1.8+ 11:02 IM1.8+
4 3 LONDON RC B SEN.8+ 11:08
5 15 BRISTOL UNIV A IM2.8+ 11:09 IM2.8+
6 7 BRISTOL CITY RC A IM1.8+ 11:13
7 49 BRISTOL UNIV B IM3.8+ 11:18 IM3.8+
8 12 LONDON RC C IM1.8+ 11:21
9 9 TIDEWAY SCULLERS A IM1.8+ 11:23
10 31 BIRMINGHAM UNI A IM3.8+ 11:24
11 10 HENLEY RC B IM1.8+ 11:25
12 16 W OF ENGLAND UNIV A IM2.8+ 11:26
13 6 THAMES TRADESMEN IM1.8+ 11:28
14 19 BATH UNIV A IM2.8+ 11:31
15 77 TIDEWAY SCULLERS B NOV.8+ 11:31 NOV.8+
16 14 PUTNEY TOWN A IM2.8+ 11:32
17 11 VESTA A IM1.8+ 11:32
18 18 IMPERIAL COLL A IM2.8+ 11:33
19 82 QUINTIN BC A VetD.8+ 11:34 00:35 10:59 Vet C/D 8+ C/D H’cap
20 4 LEA RC A IM1.8+ 11:35
21 46 BRISTOL CITY RC B IM3.8+ 11:36
22 21 MAIDSTONE INVICTA A IM2.8+ 11:37
23 37 IMPERIAL COLL B T/O 11:37
24 8 MORTLAKE AA A IM1.8+ 11:38
25 17 HENLEY RC C IM2.8+ 11:39
26 32 LADY MARGARET BC IM3.8+ 11:40
27 13 EXETER UNIV A IM2.8+ 11:43
28 55 BIRMINGHAM UNI B IM3.8+ 11:46
29 30 CARDIFF UNIV BC A IM3.8+ 11:46
30 33 UNIV COLL LON A IM3.8+ 11:49
31 61 BRISTOL UNIV C NOV.8+ 11:50
32 20 LEA RC B IM2.8+ 11:50
33 47 SWANSEA UNIV RC A IM3.8+ 11:51
34 56 PUTNEY TOWN B IM3.8+ 11:51
35 54 ST GEORGES HOSP IM3.8+ 11:55
36 52 CARDIFF UNIV BC B IM3.8+ 11:56
37 60 RUMS BOAT CLUB A NOV.8+ 11:56
38 51 AURIOL KENSINGTON A IM3.8+ 11:58
39 27 HSBC RC IM3.8+ 11:59
40 63 IMPERIAL COL MED BC A NOV.8+ 12:01
41 34 SONS OF THAMES A IM3.8+ 12:01
42 24 ELIZABETHAN BC IM2.8+ 12:02
43 48 BATH UNIV B IM3.8+ 12:03
44 80 THAMES RC B VetC.8+ 12:04 00:16 11:48 C/D H’cap
45 57 EXETER UNIV B IM3.8+ 12:04
46 35 PETERBOROUGH CITY A IM3.8+ 12:07
47 42 DE MONTFORT LEICS IM3.8+ 12:07
48 28 PARRS PRIORY RC A IM3.8+ 12:08
49 79 BRISTOL UNIV D NOV.8+ 12:10
50 44 W OF ENGLAND UNIV B IM3.8+ 12:10
51 76 EXETER UNIV C NOV.8+ 12:12
52 29 KINGS COLL LON A IM3.8+ 12:12
53 41 SONS OF THAMES B IM3.8+ 12:17
54 69 IMPERIAL COLL C NOV.8+ 12:18
55 83 TIDEWAY SCULLERS C VetE.8+ 12:20 00:52 11:28 Vet E/F 8+ E/F H’cap
56 78 CHESTERTON RC NOV.8+ 12:21
57 59 BIRMINGHAM UNI C NOV.8+ 12:23
58 22 VESTA B IM2.8+ 12:27
59 25 CYGNET RC A IM2.8+ 12:28
60 39 ESSEX UNIV IM3.8+ 12:29
61 68 THAMES RC A NOV.8+ 12:36
62 70 SWANSEA UNIV RC B NOV.8+ 12:39
63 45 HSBC RC IM3.8+ 12:40
64 75 LSE RC NOV.8+ 12:44
65 53 MORTLAKE AA B IM3.8+ 12:46
66 67 IMPERIAL COL MED BC B NOV.8+ 12:46
67 62 UNIV COLL LON B NOV.8+ 12:49
68 43 PETERBOROUGH CITY B IM3.8+ 12:52
69 58 QUEEN MARY BC NOV.8+ 12:53
70 36 MAIDSTONE INVICTA B IM3.8+ 12:53
71 38 BARTS & LONDON IM3.8+ 12:57
72 26 FURNIVALL IM3.8+ 12:57
73 72 BATH UNIV C NOV.8+ 12:58
74 64 RUMS BOAT CLUB B NOV.8+ 13:02
75 71 VESTA C NOV.8+ 13:04
76 81 PUTNEY TOWN C VetD.8+ 13:07 00:35 12:32 C/D H’cap
77 66 BIRMINGHAM UNI D NOV.8+ 13:09
78 74 UNIV COLL LON C NOV.8+ 13:10
79 50 PARR S PRIORY RC B IM3.8+ 13:15
80 40 KINGS COLL LON B IM3.8+ 13:16
81 86 LONDON RC D VetF.8+ 13:30 01:11 12:19 E/F H’cap
82 87 BEWL BRIDGE VetF.8+ 13:33 01:11 12:22 E/F H’cap
83 88 KINGS COLL LON C W.IM3.8+ 13:49 W.IM3.8+
84 84 QUINTIN BC B VetE.8+ 13:58 00:52 13:06 E/F H’cap
85 73 CYGNET RC B NOV.8+ 14:13
86 89 BATH UNIV D W.NOV.8+ 14:18 W.NOV.8+
87 65 AURIOL KENSINGTON B NOV.8+ 14:33
88 90 KINGS COLL LON D W.NOV.8+ 14:44
89 85 PUTNEY TOWN D VetE.8+ 15:29 00:52 14:37 E/F H’cap
Paul H’s facebook pix here.